Couples denied marriage licenses can sue Kim Davis

By Jonathan Stempel | Reuters

The Kentucky county clerk who in 2015 gained widespread attention for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples may be sued for damages by two of those couples, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.

In a 3-0 decision, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said Kim Davis can be sued in her individual capacity, though sovereign immunity shielded her from being sued in her former role as Rowan County Clerk.

Davis claimed that Obergefell v Hodges, the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision recognizing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, did not apply to her because she stopped issuing licenses to everyone regardless of sexual orientation, and the plaintiffs could have obtained licenses elsewhere.

But the appeals court called the Supreme Court decision “as sweeping as it was unequivocal,” and said the respective couples – David Ermold and David Moore, and Will Smith and James Yates – could try to show that Davis acted unreasonably.

“In short, plaintiffs pleaded a violation of their right to marry: a right the Supreme Court clearly established in Obergefell,” Circuit Judge Richard Griffin wrote. “The district court therefore correctly denied qualified immunity to Davis.”

The decision upheld rulings by U.S. District Judge David Bunning in Covington, Kentucky and returned the lawsuits to him. Both couples are now married.

Davis lost her reelection bid as Rowan County clerk last year. She is now retired, according to Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel, which represented her.

“At the end of the day, she will ultimately prevail. She had no hostility to anyone, given that she stopped issuing all marriage licenses,” Staver said in an interview.

“The broader issue is what accommodation a court should provide someone based on their religious beliefs,” he added. “It’s a matter of time before such a case goes squarely before …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


Rep. Moulton drops out of presidential primacy contest

By Ginger Gibson and Elizabeth Culliford | Reuters

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Seth Moulton, who mounted a long-shot bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, ended his campaign on Friday, warning that the party must now decide how far left it wants to move.

“Today, I want to use this opportunity … to announce that I am ending my campaign for president,” Moulton said in a speech before a Democratic National Committee meeting in San Francisco, drawing polite applause.

“Though this campaign is not ending the way we hoped, I am leaving this race knowing that we raised issues that are vitally important to the American people and our future.”

Moulton, a 40-year-old Iraq War veteran who plans to seek re-election to the Massachusetts district he represents, failed to garner the support he needed to qualify for any of debates. Without appearing in those nationally televised events, he had little hope of gaining traction.

He is the third Democrat to end a presidential campaign this month. Washington Governor Jay Inslee dropped out of the race earlier this week, and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper did so the week before.

In an odd twist, Moulton’s announcement appeared to attract the attention of President Donald Trump, who was under intense criticism on Friday after his latest salvo in the U.S.-China trade war helped send global markets plummeting.

Trump, appearing to joke, wrote on Twitter, “The Dow is down 573 points perhaps on the news that Representative Seth Moulton, whoever that may be, has dropped out of the 2020 Presidential Race!”

Moulton stopped short of endorsing one of his rivals for the nomination but said the crowded race with more than 20 Democrats appeared to have narrowed. The nominee will take on Trump, the likely Republican nominee, in November 2020.

“I think it’s evident that this is now a three-way race between …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


Stocks dive sharply on Trump’s tweet about China

By Alex Veiga | Associated Press

Stocks fell sharply on Wall Street Friday after President Donald Trump called on U.S. companies to consider alternatives to doing business in China. He also said he would respond to Beijing’s latest tariff increase.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down more than 500 points after the president made the announcements on Twitter.

Trump also said he was “ordering” UPS, Federal Express and Amazon to block any deliveries from China of the powerful opiod drug fentanyl. The stocks of all three companies fell as traders tried to understand what the implications for them were.

The U.S. has said it would impose 10% duties on the $300 billion of Chinese goods that were not already subject to tariffs. Early Friday China said it would retaliate with taxes on $75 billion of U.S. products.

The market opened lower with the news of the new tariffs. It recovered some of its losses after a widely anticipated speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave no clear signal on when the central bank may cut interest rates again.

Speaking at a Fed policy conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Powell noted that there’s growing evidence of a global economic slowdown and suggested that uncertainty over Trump’s trade wars have complicated the central bank’s ability to set interest rate policy. Powell said the Fed “will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.”

Markets have been jumpy for weeks as traders increasingly worry about a protracted trade war and whether it could tip the already fragile global economy into recession.

“There’s been reason to be concerned that this might not get resolved anytime soon, but the market is accepting that not only is it not likely, it’s very unlikely,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab.

Technology companies, which have much to lose in the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


David Koch’s misunderstood legacy

Billionaire David Koch was half of the 1980 Libertarian Party presidential ticket along with Ed Clark, the first to crack 1 percent of the vote. He was also half of the “Koch brothers” along with his sibling Charles, a dynamic duo in both business and politics, bankrolling conservative and libertarian causes. Dead at age 79 after a long battle with prostate cancer, David Koch was a singular force for liberty.

The Koch brothers are widely reviled as the poster children for the nefarious influence of money in politics. A pair of extremely wealthy industrialists — Forbes estimated that David was the 11th richest person in the world at the time of his death — who seek to roll back government regulations of businesses, gutting protections for ordinary Americans to fatten the corporate bottom line, puppet masters for the modern Republican Party. Jane Mayer’s 2016 book Dark Money makes their investment in like-minded intellectuals, academics, think tanks and advocacy groups sound like the work of cartoonish movie villains: “It was in essence a libertarian production line, waiting only to be bought, assembled and switched on.”

Horrors! In reality, whatever people claim to think about money in politics, whether something is perceived as sinister or righteous really depends on what side the mega-donors are on. It is seldom the same people sounding the alarm over billionaire progressives Tom Steyer or George Soros and the Koch brothers, with a few notable exceptions. Koch allies understandably roll their eyes at the notion they secretly control a GOP led by President Donald Trump — the tariff-hiker who tweeted last year “The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade,” dismissing both their “money” and “bad ideas” — and running trillion dollar deficits …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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